The financial year has ended and we’re into July.
EOFYS is over.
And the question is raised: How do I treasure Jesus in tough economic times? For some of us finances are tougher and tighter and jobs are being lost. For others finances are easier as general living costs are slightly lower.
But what’s the relationship of money to treasuring Jesus?
Well the Bible has lots to say about this topic. Lots. But two passages stand out to me at this point.
The first is from Jesus, and he makes the point really clearly:
Matthew 6:20-21 – But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.
The link is what you do with your money and how you feel about your money is a key indicator of where your heart is at. That’s a big call. You can tell how you’re travelling as a Christian by checking your heart regarding money.
Notice, this isn’t about how much you put into the collection bag on Sunday. This is bigger than that. But it does certainly include that.
The other passage is from 2 Corinthians 8:
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Like before, the point here isn’t about how much you give to church each Sunday, though it applies to that. Here Paul is taking a collection among the Gentile churches for the church in Jerusalem who were starving in the midst of a famine.
Verses 3 and 4 are pretty crazy. They gave as much as they were able, and then gave more. And they pleaded for the privilege of giving away their money.
What produces that kind of generosity?
Lots of people think that generosity comes with wealth. The more I have the more I can give away. Some people say, well, I don’t earn much now, so I won’t give. I’ll give when I get a full time job, or when I finish school, or when I’ve paid off the car, or whatever.
That’s not exactly how the Bible talks about it.
Check out verse 2. This church was in a severe trial. Notice also they weren’t rich, in fact they were in extreme poverty. Let that sink in. They’re being persecuted for their faith and they are in extreme poverty. My guess is no one reading this email is in extreme poverty, or if you are can I suggest cancelling your high-speed internet and using that money for food and shelter.
But persecution and poverty don’t produce generosity. There needs to be something else. Verse 2 says “their overflowing joy” was the catalyst for this generosity. “Overflowing joy” in what? I take it to mean joy in Jesus as their treasure in heaven. They overflowed with joy because of the grace God had given them in knowing Jesus. And because he was so valuable to them their love for others increased and their love for money decreased
Does the way you spend, save, use and lose your money reflect the fact that Jesus is your treasure in heaven? Could you attach the label “generous” to the way you use your money for others?
Generosity isn’t about rules and percentages. It’s between you and Jesus. But generosity has nothing to do with how much you earn or don’t earn.
It has to do with what you treasure.